As we have previously mentioned, hilarious things happen when writers try to write characters who are smarter than themselves. For instance, I don't doubt that some research goes into writing the medical jargon on House, but we all know that at some point they fake it. And that's fine, because what percentage of the audience is composed of not only doctors, but genius doctors? It's probably not even half.
But that's why it's so baffling when Hollywood fucks up every scene involving computers or video games. They not only get everything wrong, but give us the most insulting bullshit imaginable on details it would have taken two minutes to Google. So we wind up with scenes like this ...
(Note: Credit goes to the tech savvy gang at the NeoGAF forums for hunting down many of these clips, and countless others).
8NCIS -- Two People Sharing a Keyboard
Let's assume you know absolutely nothing about computers. Let's say you've never even touched one, but only know them based on what others have relayed to you second-hand. You would still find this scene impossibly stupid.
So it's the navy cop show NCIS, and they're under a hacker attack!
The hot goth chick starts hammering away at her keyboard as dozens of windows erupt on her screen, looking like she's trying to close all of the porn popups before her mom walks in and catches her.
"Be out in a minute, mom! I'm just ... combing my hair!"
Another agent enters the lab, and something so stupid happens that I can't even understand how the actors didn't put a stop to it in mid-shoot: Both people start feverishly typing on the same keyboard.
Man, that hacker was so good, he beat BOTH of us!
One character takes all of the letters from G to the left. And the other from H to the right. I'm guessing that they just worked so well together that he just knew when she needed him to hit the A; and she just felt it when he needed to hit Enter? Who got the space bar? As fast as they were hammering that keyboard, it would have had the same exact effect if one of them had just started slamming their entire palm across it and screaming like a frightened chimp.
Man, we are off to a fucking horrible start here -- what can we expect from an industry that doesn't understand how keyboards work despite using them on a daily basis to type the scripts?
7Hackers -- Hacking is Kind of Like a Video Game
The 1995, Hackers starred a young Angelina Jolie in a period of her career when it was clearly between this movie and porn. Ironically, the porn parody version of Hackers probably handled the technical details of hacking with the exact same level of accuracy:
We're going to skip right past the fact that they depict all hackers as ultra-cool, vinyl wearing leaders of a cutting edge subculture because that's a stylistic choice on the part of the director. Yes, hackers wear sunglasses while they're hacking. Fine. It's a movie.
So when we get to the hacking scenes, we're treated to a flyover shot of a Tron city, with information appearing in the form of CGI buildings. It's kind of a neat, artsy way to visualize the hacking that doesn't just force us to look at Linux command lines for the duration of a montage.
But then you realize that this isn't just the filmmaker's artistic representation of the idea of hacking ... it's actually on the person's monitor, and this is in fact the act of hacking. This is the actual user interface of the system they're trying to get into.
Wait, what the fuck are you typing?
We're expected to believe that searching for a file in this system involves flying a camera through a virtual city until we find our target: a room filled with mathematical equations chaotically swarming over a background of fire.
It's why most hackers are prone to seizures.
I'm not sure which is more hilarious: imagining the IT staff of this organization who labors around the clock to dress up their server's folders in a 1980s music video, or thinking about the everyday staff of that organization who has to go careening through this system every time they need to bring up that month's payroll spreadsheet.
Ah, who am I kidding? I will pay good money to anyone in the comments who can teach me how to set up my computer so that the act of navigating my C drive looks exactly like that.